Gentrification and Grand Central Market in Los Angeles

An interesting long form piece, from Los Angeles Magazine, about the history of Los Angeles’ Grand Central Market, gentrification, and food.

I know issues regarding gentrification are happening in the SFBA and other places - in Los Angeles, it’s a constant theme (and one that’s very, very uncomfortable for a lot of people, myself included).

These two paragraphs do a decent job of encapsulating (much better than I would!) my feelings about what’s happening at GCM and other areas in the L.A. Basin:

"I enjoy seeing the market so full of life, the city’s exuberant food scene converging with downtown’s comeback, but I also find myself feeling uneasy about how much I like it. I liked the old market, too, but maybe I liked the idea of it more than the reality. A food hall that does not feed the imagination is at risk of becoming mummified. And yet if I like today’s reality more—I join friends here, I bring out-of-towners—I am perhaps less than enchanted with my socioeconomics having been the catalyst for the upgrade: the market reengineered to appeal to people like me, our expectations and tastes.

The shorthand for everything happening at Grand Central is, of course, gentrification, a term whose meaning has been muddled and politicized. It can stand for dislocation, the loss of control that has piqued working-class communities of color across L.A., where moneyed interests have been pressuring rents and disrupting folkways. It can also stand for the regeneration of communities that have suffered isolation and neglect, undoing white flight, making them more diverse, not less. Befitting a city built largely by people from somewhere else, both versions on occasion happen in the same place, at the same time."

Anyway, I was intrigued to learn more of the history of GCM and hear some of the stories.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold